Nigeria Is Not A Problematic Nation - Labaran Maku
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Posted 08 July 2013 - 03:02 PM
The Honorable Minister for Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, yesterday at the Nigerian Consulate-General in Atlanta Georgia, said that Nigeria was not a problematic or failed nation but a country that is
facing the challenges that almost all the countries in the world face. He added that those challenges would go off with time.
Addressing The Nigeria Conversation jointly organized by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Information and the Nigerian Consulate-General in Georgia, Mr. Labaran Maku said that there was no society without its own problem just as he asked the public to stop describing Nigeria as problematic.
"People should stop lamenting about problems, they should look for ways to solve such problems and by so doing, they will turn all these problems to investment opportunities in Nigeria. This is what America has been doing to make the country look the best despite the challenges it faces as well. America does use its problems to achieve reformation" he said.
He further asked Nigerians to stop listening to negative information about the country, urging them to always go to the Social Media websites of the country in order to be properly informed about what is happening in different sectors and then find a way to actualize what they could do to help the federal government in all the sectors.
Speaking on power, Minister Labaran Maku said that there would be a power revolution between the next two and three years just as there was a revolution in the Telecommunication sector which he said had opened a lot of business opportunities and as well created employments and made communication easier in Nigeria.
His words: "We are building ten new power plants across the country and before the end of this year, most of the power plants will be completed.
I also want to note that before the end of 2014, all the power plants will be fully completed. In this month, one of the power plants in Aba will be commissioned, and this will make the areas to have a stable and uninterrupted power supply.
"Gradually, power problem will be solved and what we see as a problem is now an investment opportunity because of the government's policy to open the sector to private investors. Now, we are converting all the problems to business opportunities".
According to him, the competition among private sectors in order to make profits would stabilize the power sector in Nigeria because the investors would be informed that their failure to work hard in order to generate the required and sufficient power for the citizens would endanger their investments in Nigeria.
Speaking on security, Labaran Maku said that there was a lot of efforts, policies and actions ongoing to curb insecurity, criminality and what he described as a few challenges in the Niger Delta. He added that the insecurity and crime rates in some of the first class countries were even more than the ones in Nigeria.
"There have been a lot of cooperation from the citizens of Nigeria in the Northeast to curb the insecurity which they already know has the tendencies of crippling the infrastructures in the area. At this point, i will like to assure you that Nigeria is safe for foreign investors to do their businesses.
The risk we talk about is in almost all the countries across the world so i urge Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora to be part of the challenges and as well partake in the economic and infrastructural developments of the country" he noted.
He pressed further that the federal government had put in place the mercenaries that would make foreigners see Nigeria as a place where there were several opportunities for them to invest without any risk, stressing that the democratic system and President Goodluck Jonathan's transformation agenda had made Nigeria to be predictable by foreigners, an achievement he said had brought lots of investments into the country.
On Diaspora Voting Right, Mr. Maku urged Nigerians abroad to be patient, saying that the process would be put in place at the appropriate time. He added that the government wanted to be sure that it curbed the activities of those that manipulated the electoral process in the country before the implementation of the Voting Rights from the diaspora.
He continued that the President had transformed the electoral process of the country just to make it very competitive, stressing that the idea of the federal government was to ensure that nobody got into any elective post through rigging and all sorts of election malpractices without being voted for by the electorates.
His words: " This electoral idea of President Jonathan will curb stealing and embezzlement because all the elected leaders will be know that the electorates will surely vote them out if they steal of fail to perform to their expectation.
"All the reformations going on in Nigeria today as a result of democratic process are those that no future government can ever take away or reverse"
On revolution, Labaran Maku said there should be no controversy about this as long as it was going to bring positive changes to the nation, adding that there was nothing bad in people asking for a new thing that would not be perilous to a country to take place.
Maku said: "We are a country of diversities. We are a large constituency so revolution should not be our major worry as a democratic nation. The democracy in Nigeria has been able to halt dictatorship in the entire West Africa".
In his opening remarks at the event, the Nigeria's Consul-General at the Consulate in Atlanta Georgia, Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe, called for more supports for the government from Nigerians in the diaspora in order for the government to succeed in its ongoing transformation agenda.
Saying that the Goodluck Jonathan's administration had done very well in terms of infrastructure and foreign trade which he said had put the country ahead of its counterparts in Africa, Teneilabe said that the present confidence that the international community is having in Nigeria had greatly assisted the foreign investment of the country.
His words: "As one of the world's emergent economies, Nigeria is particularly encouraged by its sound economic fundamentals. The Nigerian economy is the second biggest in Africa with a GDP of about $400bn but predictions by credible financial institutions are that it would surpase the South African economy, to emerge the biggest in Africa in 10-12 years from now.
"Nigeria's GDP growth rate is 6.7% with a prediction of 7% by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The inflation rate is about 10% and Nigeria is counted among the 10 fastest growing economies in the world today. The Foreign Exchange reserve is $48bn and Nigeria is the most preferred investment destination in Africa, and debt to GDP ratio is only 19.5%.
There is micro economic stability and the currency is also stable. Nigeria is a country of about 170 million people, expected to hit the 200m mark by 2020. The middle class is growing, implying a robust and rapidly expanding consumer market".
Ambassador Teneilabe also said that: "Despite challenges, it is instructive that our democracy has come to stay. Democratic culture is taking root, with multiparty democratic system that is vibrant and engaging. The government has embarked on a Transformation Agenda, complemented by the Vision 20: 2020 programme, aimed at moving Nigeria from its current position of the 41 biggest economy in the world, to 20th biggest economy by the year 2020, with expected GDP of $900bn.
"Being a market economy, the government has liberalised the economic environment to make it easier for the private sector and investments to strive. It also wants to diversify the economy and change it from mono-economy of oil and gas production to other products as well.
Accordingly, it has embarked on several economic reforms as well as put in place incentives in several sectors of the economy including in agriculture, power, agro-business, energy, transportation tourism".
Also speaking, the Secretary-General of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDOA), Chief Gabe Okoye, pledged the supports of the Organization for the Goodluck Jonathan's government just as he acknowledged the efforts of the federal government to develop the country and its citizens abroad.
Chief Gabe Okoye also called for the approval of the Diaspora Voting Right, saying that Nigerians living in the diaspora were doing greatly in supporting the country's economy and boosting its political stability.
He said that Nigerians living abroad would be more confident to invest their money in Nigeria if they realized that the government gave them a recognition with the approval of the Diaspora Voting Right by the National Assembly.
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